Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

I am not sure how familiar you are with the opera. A few years ago I saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni[1]. The story is sometimes called Don Juan. It is the story of a horrible man who uses and dumps as many women as he can; laughing at the fact that he can’t even count his victims. At the end of the opera Don Giovanni (or for that matter, at the end of the opera Faust), the main character has the ability to be forgiven, but out of pride refuses to recognize his sins and would rather be condemned to hell[2].

            Well, these are just plays or operas, but what saddens me is that many people act the same way. There are people who think that it is too late for them. They think that they cannot be forgiven.  They think that their sins are too numerous or too grave to merit forgiveness. Perhaps you know some of these people. Perhaps you are one of these people. If you think that it is too late to be forgiven or that your sins are too grave, you are wrong.

            Look at the first reading for this weekend. It is from the Book of Jonah. Now when we hear about Jonah we think about the guy who spent three days in the belly of a whale, foreshadowing Christ’s three days in the tomb.  That is only part of the story. The whole reason why Jonah got gobbled up was because he refused to listen to God and preach to the people of Nineveh. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people that they were condemned due to their sins, so It wasn’t too late for the Ninivites. It is never too late for us. We think that it is too late for us to be forgiven, or that the sin was too much to forgive. Sometimes we think that even we don’t belong in Church. Wrong! God wants everybody here. God wants everybody here because he wants us to receive healing from the community.

            Some people come to Church battling sin and frequently losing that battle.  They might have gotten through a week or two, but then they succumb again.  Once in Church they see so many around them living a moral life that they feel that they don’t belong here.  But they are wrong.  The need to be here because they need to be in the presence of compassion and love, compassion and love emanating from Christ and reflected by the Catholic community. It is not too late for them.  It is never too late for any of us!

            Today’s Gospel sums up all of Jesus’ teaching. His message was simple: repent and believe in the Gospel, the Good News. The Good News is that happiness and peace are offered to us if we are willing to fight against sin and turn to the Lord. The Good News is that nothing can take Christ from us.  No one, no situation in life, nothing can destroy the joy that we have in being united to the Lord.

            And this joy is there for us, every one of us. We can embrace the joy. We do not have to be like Don Giovanni. We cannot allow our pride to destroy us. We can the humility to embrace the Lord’s compassion. The Lord never gives up on us.   We do not have the right to give up on ourselves

[1] Don Giovanni (K. 527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed, like many of its time, as dramma giocoso, a term that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements. A staple of the standard operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni is currently tenth on the Opera base list of the most-performed operas worldwide. It has also proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers.
[2] 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time B, January 25, 2015. Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Responsorial Psalm 25: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris